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Australians are inclined to expect their own economic circumstances to deteriorate under an Abbott government but Liberal voters are already shedding their gloomy view of the economy and starting to see the bright side, new polling from Essential Research finds

Asked about their expectations about an Abbott government, 37% believe unemployment will get worse compared to 27% who believe it will improve. And while 38% believe the economy will improve compared to 30% who think will deteriorate, 40% to 27% believe the cost of living will worsen, 31% to 17% believe interest rates will rise, 42% to 23% believe health services will deteriorate, 43% to 22% believe job security will deteriorate, and 41% to 25% believe education will deteriorate.

Some 15% believe company profits will be “a lot better” under an Abbott government and 20% believe workers’ rights and conditions will be “a lot worse”. Around 22-35% believe their own financial situation will be worse.

The results run counter to the efforts of the Coalition’s media boosters to portray consumers as delighted with a Coalition win and ready to open their wallets again.

However, 40% of voters now believe the economy is good compared to 25% who believe it’s poor, a change from July when the numbers were 36% to 30%. The difference in just a matter of weeks is because Coalition voters, who strongly thought the economy was bad in July (18% good; 45% bad) are now changing their view — all of a sudden 32% of Coalition voters think the economy is good compared to 35% who don’t, despite a deterioration in both the economic outlook and government finances prior to the calling of the election. The number of Labor voters who think the economy is good has also dropped from 59% in July to 50%.

Coalition voters are now much more optimistic about the direction of the economy: 68% believe it will improve, compared to 21% in January who thought the economy would get worse, while 59% of Labor voters now think it will get worse — a big change from January, when 50% of Labor voters thought the economy would improve.

In short, if further evidence were needed, we can confirm voters’ view of the economy is strongly influenced by whether their preferred political party is in office.

Essential’s online poll of 1000-plus voters found 38% of respondents thought the election of minor parties like Clive Palmer’s organisation to the Senate was good for democracy, compared to 25% who didn’t, with Coalition voters much more likely to think it wasn’t good for democracy. They also think it will result in worse government — 44% to 32% of Coalition voters think it will lead to worse government; other voters tend to disagree.

On voting intention, it’s 44% for the Coalition, 36% for Labor and 9% for the Greens: a two-party preferred vote of 53-47%.

*Essential Research is a part of Essential Media Communications. EM Advertising, a business wholly owned by EMC, is contracted by the ALP to provide advertising for the federal election campaign. Directors, staff and contractors working on the EM Advertising business have no involvement in the production of the Essential Report. Your Source manages Essential’s online research panel. Essential Research and Your Source are ISO accredited market research companies.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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